Gulf of Aden: 0125 Hours
"Nadif, you are being a habilaawe," Omar lightly scolded. "So, the crew left before we did. Why does that concern us?"
"I fear it may be trap, but my stomach says it is like Abdi claims and is naxis," Nadif replied.
"Abdi is a good man, but he is a habilaawe. He believes everything is a bad omen. Now even his superstition has you seeing a laab everywhere," comforted Omar.
"Maya, maya," Nadif said lowly. "No, no sayid. My gut says this is a cursed ship."
Nadif only called Omar sayid or leader if there was something very grave going on. "Bal, okay," Omar finally said. "I'll take a look at the mess. I am sure there is a good explanation. Or at the very least I should be able to grab a meal."
"Sayid, I would not joke about this. The food may be tainted," Nadif said very seriously.
"Bal, bal," Omar said in a soothing voice. "I will look at the mess."
Five minutes later Omar stood in the mess hall of the Kohl. The tables were set with food on plates and beverages in cups. The food by now was lukewarm, but most of it was untouched. Omar could not understand why, but a shiver went down his spine. Why did having everyone abandoning the mess in a hurry have him feeling like Abdi.
"Did you inspect the galley?" asked Omar.
Nadif nodded his head, "Haa, yes. The galley was clean. Just some of the food on the stove, but the stove was shut off. "
"Bal, this is what I want you to do, Nadif." Omar said to the ex-soldier. "Get some men together and scour the ship. Be careful, maybe there are some crew members still left. Report back to me as soon as finished or if you find something."
Nadif saluted and exited the mess hall like one leaving a diseased village. As the thought reached Omar's mind, he too rapidly left the mess hall. "I pray this is no plague ship," Omar thought.
Omar was outside the mess hall's doors and heading down a long corridor of the ship's interior when he saw the young boy Taban run towards him. Taban was completely out of breath by the time he reached Omar.
"Sayid..., sayid...," the boy panted.
"Calm down, Taban," Omar said comforting the gasping boy, "Catch your breath and then tell me what is so important."
After a few attempts to begin again in which Taban fell back to panting the boy finally leaned against a door and sucked in deep breaths of air. After a couple of minutes, Taban finally was composed enough to relay the message.
"Sayid," Taban said still breathing heavy. "The compass does not work. Neither does the GPS."
"Relax Taban," Omar said with a smile. "I all ready know this. That is why I told Abdi to use the compass off the fishing boats."
"Sayid, you do not understand," the boy said with fear escaping from his voice. "It is the compasses and the GPS from our boats I am talking about."
Omar was really beginning to get uneasy about being on this ship. He calmed himself so that the frightened boy would not panic further. "Taban, I will look into this. It is nothing. There maybe some electrical interference that is messing with the equipment. We will use the stars to navigate."
Taban smiled at Omar. The boy believed everything the pirate leader said. It was well known that Omar never betrayed his men and the men were fiercely loyal to Omar.
Omar returned to the bridge to consult with Abdi. The helmsman stared fixedly ahead. Beads of sweat ran down from his brow. Occasionally, Abdi reached up with one hand to wipe the sweat from his eyes.
Omar could hear Abdi say under his breath over and over again, "this is naxis. We are doomed."
"Abdi," Omar said to the fisherman. Abdi startled turned and looked at Omar. For a moment Abdi did not recognize his leader and stared at him with wide eyes.
"Abdi, relax. I am no laab here to take your soul," Omar said.
Abdi gave Omar a weak smile, "Maya, no sayid. You startled me, that is all."
Omar walked over next to the helmsman and studied the hand compasses that came from the skiffs. Like the Kohl's compass they too spun erratically. The handheld GPS system also flashed random numbers.
"Abdi, you are a good kalluunle like me. You will have to use the stars to guide us," Omar reassured the fisherman.
"Haa sayid," Abdi replied. "But the sky is overcast and I cannot see the stars."
Omar looked out the windows towards the sky. The cloud cover was so thick that even the moonlight could not break through. This was not good. In fact, this was very dangerous for they had no idea where they were going.
Omar reached for the microphone for the ship's intercom. He toggled it on and said to those below over the ship's speakers, "Men turn on the search lights and see if you can locate any land."
Within minutes at various points on the ship the searchlights lit up. As the high intensity beams played out from the ship all that reached their eyes was a very thick bank of fog. The fog acted like no fog Omar ever experienced. It surrounded the big cargo ship, but it did not cover it. Omar could easily see the ship's bow from the bridge on the aft but he could not see beyond it.
Omar quickly grabbed the ship's telemeter and pulled it to the ‘all stop' indicator. The large engines with in the ship brought the propellers to an abrupt halt. The large boat moved forward only by its inertia through the fluffy white mist.Posted by deg at March 11, 2009 5:34 PM